Times Leaves Off Rattner's Friendship With NYT Publisher

A story on a brewing controversy involving financier-turned-Obama-advisor Steven Rattner made no mention of his close friendship with Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., although the paper mentioned it in a profile last week.

Friday's front-page story by Danny Hakim and Louise Story is on potential trouble involving financier Steven Rattner, Obama's auto industry advisor and friend of Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. - "Obama Adviser Said to Be Tied To Pension Deal."

The man leading the Obama administration's efforts to restructure the auto industry has been described in Securities and Exchange Commission documents as having arranged for his investment firm to pay more than $1 million to obtain New York State pension business.

Although he is not named in the documents, a person with knowledge of the inquiry said the investment executive is Steven Rattner, co-founder of the Quadrangle Group, the prominent private equity firm.

The S.E.C. complaint, filed as part of an expansive state and federal investigation into corruption at the state pension fund, details the efforts of Quadrangle to gain business from the pension fund beginning in 2004.

The person who received most of the $1 million-plus payment has been indicted, accused of selling access to the fund.

There is no indication in the complaint that Mr. Rattner faces criminal or civil charges in connection with the inquiry.

Conspicuously absent from the story: Rattner's long friendship with New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., which extends back to when they were both reporters for the Times. The paper mentioned the relationship just last week, before the pension inquiry became news, in a laudatory profile of Rattner written by Louise Story, "Obama's Top Auto Industry Troubleshooter":

Although Mr. Rattner is friendly with many communications media leaders, he has been wary of the publicity his position has brought and at first resisted requests to be interviewed. He has long had a close friendship with the publisher of The New York Times,Arthur Sulzberger Jr.